Ukrainian Shelter Rescues Dog That Had Been Stuck in Underground Heating System for Three Years

A dog shelter in Nikopol, Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk Oblast region, recently received a call from a concerned animal lover begging them to help her rescue a dog that had fallen down an exposed drain and had been stuck there for three years.

The shocking story was shared on July 2nd, on a public dog-themed Facebook group, by Elena Omelchenko, a volunteer at the Nikopol dog shelter. Apparently, a girl named Lena called the shelter and practically implored them to rescue a dog that had fallen down an uncovered drain, into a complex central heating system, three years ago, and had been living there ever since. Lena and other kindhearted people had been throwing the dog food, but, so far, they had been unable to rescue it.

“To say that we were shocked about this would be an understatement,” Elena wrote on Facebook. “How??? Why did no one help the poor animal for three years (years, not days, weeks or even months)???”

Lena had told volunteers at the dog shelter that over the last three years, she had contacted the Ministry for Emergency Situations – where she was told that they do not deal with such matters – various activists and even professional dog handlers, but no one expressed a desire to help. She and others who knew about the situation tried rescuing the dog themselves, but the underground heating system consisted of an intricate network of narrow passages where the animal hid whenever someone tried to help.

Elena and her colleagues understood that they needed someone with experience in both animal rescue and dealing with distressed dogs. Luckily, they had someone perfect for the job.

“Our Sasha Dunaev, our hero, the best dog rescuer in the world, managed to pull her out!!!” Elena wrote. “Yes, she bit his hand, yes, it was the most complex rescue operation we have ever carried out, but we are so happy to have saved her!”

“For nearly a week, the dog, which we named Alexandra, in honor of the Savior (Tsar Alexander II), has been living at our shelter,” Elena says. “Obviously, she is still terrified, because she needs to get used to the sounds and smells around her, to people and other dogs.”

After noticing that Alexandra was constantly trying to hide in the corners of her kennel, the dog shelter staff placed a large chair in there, for her to hide behind. That helped a lot, as the dog is apparently a lot more relaxed in her new safe space.

In her Facebook post, Elena Omelchenko mentions that Alexandra’s readjustment period would be much shorter and easier under the care of someone able to dedicate much more time, care and affection to her, than they can, at the shelter.

The post has already been shared hundreds of times, and people commended Elena and her colleagues for rescuing the dog, but so far someone has yet to express a desire to adopt Alexandra. Hopefully, she’ll be able to find a family that can help her forget her 3-year ordeal.


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